Author of New Book for Widows Offers Help for Getting through the Holidays

Share Article

People who are grieving the loss of a loved one often dread the holidays. Ella Wall Prichard, author of Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows (1845 Books, an imprint of Baylor University Press), calls holidays “sinkholes,” times that are fraught with anxiety for the bereaved.

“Many of the books and blogs I read advise new widows to avoid social occasions while they are still emotionally fragile. That is a terrible idea for most of us. Isolation is a breeding ground for depression. When we keep saying ‘no,’ people forget about us and move on.”

Ella Prichard recalls that after her husband Lev died, the approaching holidays increased her sadness and depression. “At no time was Lev’s empty chair so painfully obvious than when the family gathered for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” she says. “I have learned through trial and error—and nine years of experience—to be very intentional and proactive in planning the period from Thanksgiving to the New Year.”

In her new book Reclaiming Joy, Prichard offers practical advice and encouragement for those who've lost a spouse. She acknowledges that every widow’s situation is different, and encourages readers to set their own path. Her recommendations include:

  • Take time to mourn: “If I had addressed my grief head-on in the beginning instead of numbing myself with busyness, I might have healed more quickly.”
  • Accept invitations: “Many of the books and blogs I read advise new widows to avoid social occasions while they are still emotionally fragile. That is a terrible idea for most of us. Isolation is a breeding ground for depression. When we keep saying ‘no,’ people forget about us and move on.”
  • Take heart in small acts of courage: “New widows need courage simply to get out of bed some mornings. Every small act of courage empowers us. Repeated often enough, they give us the confidence to build new, meaningful lives for ourselves.”
  • Leave your comfort zone: Prichard pushed herself far out of her comfort zone. “Not every new experience was one that I wanted to repeat. Not every new acquaintance became a friend. In some ways I was like a teenager. No one else could tell me what would work for me. I had to take risks.”
  • Build community: The sisterhood of widows has played a significant role in Prichard’s journey. “We can fall apart in front of our widowed friends. They understand, and they help pull us out of the sinkholes.”

About the Author
Ella Wall Prichard is the president of Prichard Oil Company. She was married to Lev Prichard for 46 years, until his death in 2009. While learning the business and settling the estate in the midst of the Great Recession, she poured out her grief and anxiety on Twitter and Facebook, which were the seeds of her book, Reclaiming Joy. She is a frequent speaker on the subject of widowhood and has encouraged and supported widows around the country. Ella blogs at http://www.ellawallprichard.com, where other resources on widowhood can be found.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kelly Hughes
DeChant-Hughes Public Relations
3122808126
Email >
@KellyHughes
Follow >